By Tim Lambert
C 2,300 BC
At Skara Brae in Scotland stone huts have drains with cubicles over them. They may have been toilets.
C 2,000 BC
In Northwest India and Pakistan, towns are built with networks of sewers. Toilets are flushed with water.
C 1,800 BC
On Crete some toilets are flushed with water
C 1,200 BC
In Egypt, rich people use a container with sand, which is emptied by slaves.
C 100 AD
In Rome, sewers collect rainwater and sewage. There are public lavatories. The Romans have a goddess of sewers called Cloacina.
At Portchester Castle monks built stone chutes leading to the sea. When the tide went in and out it flushed away the sewage.
In castles the toilet is a vertical shaft cut into the thickness of the walls with a stone seat on top.
Some towns in Medieval Europe have public toilets
Ordinary people often use the leaves of a plant called woolly mullein as toilet paper
People are forbidden to go in the courtyards of royal palaces
Sir John Harrington invents a flushing toilet but the idea fails to catch on. People continue to use cess pits, which are cleaned by men called gong farmers.
Alexander Cumming patents a flushing lavatory
Joseph Bramah makes a better design
Earth closets are popular. When you pull a lever granulated clay from a box covers the contents of the pan.
The first modern public lavatory opens
Toilet paper goes on sale in the USA. It is sold in sheets.
The vacant/engaged bolt is invented
The first pedestal toilet pan is made
Toilet paper on rolls goes on sale in the USA
John Nevil Maskelyne invents the coin operated lock for toilets
For the first time some houses for skilled workers are built with inside lavatories
Toilet paper on rolls goes on sale in Europe
Soft toilet paper goes on sale
The World Toilet Organisation is formed